impostor syndrome

or im·post·er syn·drome

[im-pos-ter sin-drohm]


anxiety or self-doubt that results from persistently undervaluing one’s competence and active role in achieving success, while falsely attributing one's accomplishments to luck or other external forces.

Nearby words

  1. impossible,
  2. impossible figure,
  3. impost,
  4. impost block,
  5. impostor,
  6. impostume,
  7. imposture,
  8. imposure,
  9. impotence,
  10. impotent

Origin of impostor syndrome

Coined by Pauline Rose Clance (U.S. psychologist) and Suzanne Imes (U.S. psychologist) in a psychology journal article “The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention” in 1978

Also called im·pos·tor phe·nom·e·non, im·post·er phe·nom·e·non [im-pos-ter fuh-nom-uh-non, ‐nuhn] /ɪmˈpɒs tər fəˌnɒm əˌnɒn, ‐nən/. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019